Indiana Pacers

Coming out of the Eastern Conference will be a whole lot easier without LeBron James lording over the rest of its peasants, and the Indiana Pacers have positioned themselves to be the conference’s foremost dark horse.customized nfl jerseys

Only two other teams have added more wins above replacement over the offseason, according to an analysis run by Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey: the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers. And they’ve each reached the pinnacle of summertime improvement through one massive move.

Golden State ruined the already ruined NBA (it isn’t actually ruined) by lucking into DeMarcus Cousins. Los Angeles happened upon a greatest-of-all-time candidate whose life is no longer dictated by trying to win championships. nfl custom jerseys cheap Indiana’s activity has been more subtle and comprehensive.

Tyreke Evans gives the Pacers another primary ball-handler who has the spot-up chops to coexist with Victor Oladipo. He shot 40.8 percent on pull-up threes last season—third-best mark among 96 players to make at least 10 appearances and average more than one attempt per game. He also canned 38.9 percent of his catch-and-fire treys.

Doug McDermott is a quality plug-and-play sniper. He drilled nearly 46 percent of his standstill threes while splitting time with the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks. Along with Evans, he buoys the spacing of an offense that led the league in long-two frequency, according to Cleaning The Glass.

Kyle O’Quinn has a similar effect up front. He has three-point range the Knicks chose to ignore and is more nimble-footed, and thus playable, compared to the departed Al Jefferson. He offers a nice alternative if the Pacers cheap custom nfl jerseys are committed to dabbling in dual-big lineups. cheap customized nfl jerseys TJ Leaf is TJ Leaf, and the Myles Turner-Domantas Sabonis partnership was mostly a disaster.

Indiana is not without its red flags. Head coach Nate McMillan is making sure of that. As he said when asked about what James’ departure from the conference means, per 8 Points, 9 Seconds’ Tony East: “I think you’ll see less spread lineups and more grinding and more post players.”cheap nfl custom jerseys

Um, yeah. This can’t happen. Having O’Quinn is nice, but McDermott and Thaddeus Young should be soaking up time at the 4. The Pacers have enough concerns on defense looking at their wing rotation without hamstringing an offense that finished 23rd in efficiency after the All-Star break.

In a nutshell, though, Indiana’s 48-win upstart is deeper and more talented. That’ll give way to unique nike nfl jerseys cheap  opportunities in the East’s impending LeBron-less free-for-all.

NBA Free Agency Roundup: Meet the New Under-the-Radar Contenders

Don’t sweat the NBA offseason’s transition to relative inactivity. There’s a silver lining to the free-agency frenzy winding down to a slow, lifeless laze: We get to step back, take a breath, survey the landscape and properly celebrate the birth of new nfl authentic jerseys and newish might-be contenders!

Are you pumped? You should be pumped. You’re pumped aren’t you? How could you not be? The dust is gradually settling on the league’s silly season and the flurry of transactions has yielded a host of talking points that journey nfl authentic jerseys cheap beyond the Golden State Warriors sewing up the next eleventy titles.

To be clear: This space is not dedicated to teams with an exceptional shot at dethroning the reigning champs. For one, that type of threat doesn’t exist. Mostly, though, we’re nodding to afterthoughts and footnotes who have a fathomable path to winning their conference and making it to the NBA Finals.

Offseason additions are part of the allure for certain candidates, but not all of them. Some are here by default, due more to what has happened around them. Others have long been championship hopefuls in training. nfl jersey wholesale One franchise’s case boils down to moves unmade (so far).

All the usual suspects receive their due elsewhere. best nfl jerseys Get your Warriors, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors fixes another time. This one’s for the less ballyhooed—the non-favorites who aren’t popular picks among us hoops head to make it out of their conference.

Joel Bitonio, Cleveland Browns

Guard Joel Bitonio, not Shon Coleman or rookie Austin Corbett, is the Cleveland Browns’ best left tackle option after Joe Thomas’ retirement. Even so, the coaching staff isn’t expected to move the 26-year-old blocker to the blind side. official nfl jerseys cheap

Why?

“He is an elite guard, one of the top 4-5 in the league,” offensive line coach Bob Wylie said, per Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto. “You put him at tackle and he becomes…what…just a tackle.”

Wylie’s comments are shortsighted. nfl authentic jerseys

First, he’s already indicating Bitonio can’t excel even though he entered the league as a tackle prospect before the Browns bumped him inside because of his body type. At 6’4″ and 305 pounds, Bitonio doesn’t have Coleman’s size or length, but the veteran shows superior movement skills, and he’s a better overall athlete with longer arms than Corbett.

Furthermore, Cleveland drafted Corbett in this year’s second round because the organization loved his versatility. The goal should be to place the best five blockers on the field, and Bitonio is by far the most fluid option with superior technique and experience. nfl authentic jerseys cheap

“Anything they need I’m willing to give a try,” he said, per Cleveland.com’s Dan Labbe, “but I think right now the plan is to find a guy to play left tackle, and I’m going to stick right at left guard.”

Power Ranking Every NFL Team’s 2017 Draft Haul One Year Later

d0233b5f28bb038f0303a4b20338d798_crop_exact

Each NFL team’s 2017 draft class either raised the bar for expectations or left much to be desired for the upcoming season.

This power ranking isn’t an indicator of how good or underwhelming a group will become over the next few years. Instead, we leaned on what we know more than what we think a player can become.cheap nfl authentic jerseys

In other words, first-year production took precedence over second-year potential. Secondly, a solid draftee at a premium position held more weight than a quality kick returner or third linebacker. Finally, teams are rewarded a little extra for hitting on productive middle- and late-round picks.

For each team’s 2017 rookie class, we broke down the good, starting with a top performer, and factored in the shortcomings for a one-year assessment.

To account for the size differences between draft classes, smaller ones with high-end contributors ranked as high as larger ones with widespread production.cheap authentic nfl jerseys

Which high-potential players fell short, whether due to injury, scheme fit or the inability to deliver in sizable roles? Which rookie classes flourished? Read on to find out.

Draft Picks: DE Derek Rivers (No. 83 overall), OT Antonio Garcia (No. 85), DE Deatrich Wise Jr. (No. 131), OT Conor McDermott (No. 211)

Total Starts: 3

Top Performer: Wise cheap nfl jerseys from china

With a small draft class, the New England Patriots didn’t have much room for error, and only one player made a notable contribution. Wise logged five sacks at defensive end to help the team get to 42, which tied for seventh in the league. That’s where the good news ends with this group.

There’s no chance at a bounce-back season for offensive tackle Garcia. The Patriots waived him after he sat out 2017 because of blood clots in his lungs, which led to significant weight loss. The New York Jets claimed him off waivers.nfl cheap jerseys

McDermott played one snap on offense at tackle, and Rivers missed the entire 2017 term at defensive end with an ACL tear. There’s little to talk about pertaining to this class, though Wise and Rivers have some upside as rotational assets.nfl jerseys cheap china

Jimmy Butler Rejects Timberwolves’ 4-Year, $110M Contract Extension Offer

hi-res-ffcd21cdb6846cef8685ec3586a4600a_crop_north

Amid reports of his frustration with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jimmy Butler has rejected a long-term deal with the team.

According to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said Butler turned down a four-year extension in the $110 million range.cheap youth nfl jerseys

Wolfson added that Butler appreciated the offer but knew it made more sense financially to wait until next summer when he can cash in even more—barring serious injury.

This comes less than two weeks after Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported Butler has no intentions of signing an extension with the organization because he “has been frustrated with the nonchalant attitudes of younger teammates—specifically Karl-Anthony Towns.”

On Thursday, Cycle’s Thomas Duffy pointed out that the Minnesota guard liked an Instagram comment that suggested he and Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving team up with the New York Knicks next summer.youth nfl jerseys cheap

Butler is under contract for $18.7 million next season and holds a $19.8 million player option for the 2019-20 season, per Spotrac. When asked about his star’s reported unhappiness, Minnesota head coach Tom Thibodeau sidestepped the question.youth nfl jerseys

“We know how important Jimmy is to the team,” Thibodeau said Monday, per Nick Friedell. “But we don’t talk about contract negotiations or anything like that, so just get ready for the season.”

Butler had another solid performance in his first year in Minnesota, averaging 22.2 points on career-high 47.4 percent shooting while adding 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. His strong play earned him a fourth consecutive All-Star nod.nfl youth jerseys

Teaming Butler with former No. 1 overall picks Towns and Andrew Wiggins figured to make the Timberwolves a force in the Western Conference. However, the T-Wolves had to fight to the wire to make the playoffs as the No. 8 seed, and the Houston Rockets eliminated them in the first round.nfl youth jerseys cheap

Now, Minnesota will have to determine how it will handle Butler as he enters his walk year. The team can hope that he turned down this offer strictly for financial purposes and try to re-sign him next summer, or it can explore his trade market over the next few months so it doesn’t risk losing him for nothing in free agency.

Lakers News: Lonzo Ball Will Have Surgery to Repair Knee Injury

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday, the team announced Friday.

A timetable for recovery will be provided once the operation is complete. cheap nfl jerseys nike china

Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania reported June 29 that Ball had been diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his left knee and was expected to be healthy for the start of training camp.

The 2017 No. 2 overall pick was hampered by left knee pain throughout his rookie season and missed 15 games between Jan. 15 and Feb. 15 because of a sprained MCL.

The Lakers will have the luxury of leaning nike jersey nfl cheap on veteran Rajon Rondo to shoulder the load at point guard in the event Ball—who averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game as a rookie—isn’t 100 percent when the 2018-19 season opens.

Baltimore Orioles: They’ll Have to Sell Low on Zach Britton

ee1b161d62fd16ee80eb16e956bc6fdb_crop_exact

The Orioles are going to find a taker for Machado. They should for other rentals too, such as Adam Jones and Brad Brach.

Moving fellow rental Zach Britton, however,nfl jerseys from china  will be more difficult than they probably anticipated.

Britton isn’t far removed from being the most dominant relief pitcher in baseball. Between 2014 and 2016, he racked up a 1.38 ERA and permitted just a .493 OPS. He was subsequently limited to 38 appearances in 2017, and a ruptured Achilles tendon kept him out until June 12 this year.

Britton has struggled since he returned to the mound. His 4.26 ERA isn’t the half of it, as his ground-ball percentage and strikeout-to-walk rate have also cratered.

Throw in a $12 million salary, and Britton’s value is basically kaput. If the Orioles can’t attach him to a Machado deal, they probably won’t do much better than a salary-dump trade when they move him. official nfl jerseys cheap

With Christian Vazquez set to miss 6-to-8 weeks with a broken pinky, the Boston Red Sox may want to pursue a catcher on the trade market. Somebody like, say, Miami Marlins All-Star J.T. Realmuto.

In reality, the Red Sox are likely to settle for one of Miami’s relievers: Drew Steckenrider.nfl authentic jerseys

The Red Sox have been in contact with the Marlins about their late-inning relievers, according to Morosi. Kyle Barraclough is the best of the bunch, but his price tag is likely too steep for Boston.

Steckenrider, 27, is a lesser option on the surface, but he has a skill the Red Sox could covet. He’s owned right-handed batters to the tune of a .465 OPS. Thus, he would be a major postseason weapon against the right-handed sluggers of the New York Yankees and Houston Astros.

As a bonus, the Red Sox would control him through 2023.

The Chicago Cubs should look to buy at the trade deadline.

Their immediate goal is to catch the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central, after all, and they’re not without their needs. The biggest is in their rotation, which is missing Yu Darvish and is being held back by Tyler Chatwood.nfl authentic jerseys cheap

And yet, the Cubs’ plus-105 run differential hints at the team’s upside for the second half. And if Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana start pitching up to their track records, suddenly their rotation needs won’t look as dire.nfl jersey wholesale

There are also practical matters to consider. The Cubs are limited in both prospects and luxury-tax wiggle room. By virtue of these things, they’re going to have trouble making impact trades even if they want to.

So when the time comes, it won’t be surprising to see the Cubs stand pat.

Deal or No Deal: MLB Trade Predictions 2 Weeks from the Deadline

Anything could happen in these last couple of weeks before Major League Baseball’s July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

As for what will happen, we have a few ideas.wholesale nfl jerseys

What follows is one trade-deadline prediction for each of MLB’s 30 teams. These are strictly speculative, but nonetheless based on reported rumors and the general realities of each squad.

We’ll go in alphabetical order by city.

slien/Getty Images

As they seek their first National League West title since 2011, the Arizona Diamondbacks have their sights set on Manny Machado.nfl jerseys wholesale

According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, Arizona has already made the Baltimore Orioles an offer that supposedly ranks second among the ones they’ve received for the slugging shortstop.

The field is a crowded one, however, and the D-backs are disadvantaged in a bidding war. They’re short on top prospects, and the best of theirs (RHP Jon Duplantier) was recently shut down with biceps tendinitis.

The Diamondbacks will need an impact bat even if they miss out on Machado. The best pivot they could make would be to a different rental infielder: breakout Minnesota Twins star Eduardo Escobar. He’s racked up an .844 OPS and 51 extra-base hits while playing shortstop and third base.

Call it a hunch, but they’ll ultimately make that pivot.

If the Atlanta Braves want to outlast the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals to win the NL East, they must address their bullpen.nfl jerseys china

Atlanta’s pen has come undone with a 5.38 ERA over the last 30 days. Although there’s nothing it doesn’t need, a tried-and-true relief ace is the best it can shoot for.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Braves’ focus is on relievers who are controlled beyond 2018. Among the players on that list, none suits them better than Brad Hand.

The two-time All-Star owns a 2.63 ERA and a rate of 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings since 2015. He’s also signed for cheap through 2021.nfl wholesale jerseys

Of course, the San Diego Padres will need a serious offer in order to give up Hand. The Braves, however, have plenty of prospects. It wouldn’t be shocking if they gave up a few to get a guy who would stabilize their bullpen for this year and beyond.

NBA Free-Agency Roundup: Isaiah Thomas Signing Comes with No Risk, High Reward

Feel free to stop and take a breath, especially now that another domino has fallen.

As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski, Isaiah Thomas has agreed to a one-year minimum contract with the Denver Nuggets, for whom he’ll attempt to rebound from his disappointing 2017-18 campaign before hitting 2019’s free-agency period in better standing. The diminutive point guard couldn’t get anything going with either the Cleveland Cavaliers or Los Angeles Lakers after the surprise trade centered around Kyrie Irving moved him outside his established comfort zone with the Boston Celtics, but he’s now landing in a situation that represents the perfect balance of risk and reward.

Though the early portion of the 2018 NBA offseason featured fast-and-furious action as LeBron James donned a Los Angeles Lakers uniform, DeMarcus Cousins joined the Golden State Warriors and so many other big-name players decided on their immediate futures, the rumor mill had slowed down considerably prior to the Thomas news. But that’s largely due to a lack of money, not a talent void on what remains of the open market. nfl cheap jerseys

So journey with us as we first break down the Thomas signing, then, based on some combination of informed speculation, external reports and that good-old gut feeling, help tell you where the top five remaining free agents will end up when the dust firmly settles.

Every quality signing blends together risk and reward in sterling fashion, and this one is no different.

If Thomas is unable to rekindle the magic that made him one of the league’s most devastating offensive threats in 2016-17, the Nuggets can cut ties with him for only a minimal cost, instead turning to up-and-comers such as nfl jerseys cheap china Monte Morris while attempting to plug the gap behind Jamal Murray on the projected depth chart. Thomas, meanwhile, would just be back where he started—searching for a long-term home and attempting to prove his hip injury isn’t going to wreck what was once such a promising career. nfl jersey

But what if it does work? nfl jerseys

The Nuggets have prided themselves on their offensive prowess for a few years running, to the point that head coach Mike Malone has entirely switched philosophies. Though he entered Colorado as a signal-caller who focused first and foremost on defense, he’s now embraced the high-scoring habits and attempted to maximize the team’s production around the promising young core comprised of Murray, Will Barton, Gary Harris and Nikola Jokic. cheap nfl jerseys china

Thomas only adds to that identity.

In peak form, he can settle in as a high-scoring sixth man functioning as a change of pace whenever he enters the proceedings. That he has chemistry with Malone from their mutual time with the Sacramento Kings only adds to the upside, since it should presumably authentic nfl jerseys  take him less time to build a synergistic relationship with both the coaching staff and his new teammates. His potential in the Mile High City may still be capped by his role—he’s not displacing the Murray/Harris backcourt anytime soon—but small-ball lineups do allow for even more opportunities.

The Rockets’ Backup Plans Are Good

The Rockets got themselves one of the best three-and-D options left on the market in James Ennis, who agreed to a two-year deal with the team Wednesday.

This doesn’t force a re-evaluation of how much they’ll miss Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. Their departures are still borderline catastrophic for a Rockets team that built its defensive identity on switchable wings. But perhaps we can ease off Houston for its decision not to overpay role-fillers, even when those roles seemed so important.wholesale nfl jerseys

There’s a parallel here to the Rockets’ unwillingness to match the poison-pill offer sheet Chandler Parsons signed with the Dallas Mavericks in 2014. Parsons wasn’t a star, and Houston refused to pay him like one, even if it meant losing him for nothing.

The Rockets replaced Parsons with Ariza then,nfl jerseys wholesale  and it seems as though they’re doing something similar now by slotting Ennis into a key role.

Ennis projects as a starter, and he’s a decent facsimile of the guys Houston let go. A career 35.9 percent shooter from deep, Ennis can guard several positions and gets most of his offense on the catch. B/R’s Dan Favale noted that his standstill game will play well in Houston’s attack, as Ennis took over 63 percent of his shots without a dribble last season.nfl jerseys china

“Obviously, losing Trevor and losing Luc, it’s going to hurt,” head coach Mike D’Antoni told ESPN.com’s Tim McMahon. “You don’t replace that, but we’ll figure it out. … There’s different ways to go. We’re going to be good. Like Chris is saying, we’re going to run it back at Golden State. We’ll see. We’ll be ready.”nfl wholesale jerseys

It’s likely wrong to say this is how the Rockets wanted free agency to play out all along, but it’s still fair to trust general manager Daryl Morey and his contingency plans. They’ve worked out well in the past.